Any withdrawal from a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or from a Life Income Fund (LIF) is taxable and must be added to your annual income.
In both cases, the law dictates the annual minimum withdrawal you are allowed to make. If you make a withdrawal is higher than the minimum, taxes are withheld at source on the exceeding amount.
Income tax rates for amounts exceeding the minimum:
|Amount exceeding the minimum||Withholding rates|
|$5,000 or less||10 %|
|$5,001 to $15,000||20 %|
|Over $15,000||30 %|
The withholding rate may be higher or lower than the actual tax rate that applies to your income for the year. The adjustment will be made on your annual income tax return. If the amount withheld is lower than the income tax due, you can ask your Caisse populaire advisor to have additional taxes withheld on each withdrawal.
If the annual minimum withdrawal exceeds your needs
- If you and your spouse want to withdraw the lowest amount possible, you can request that the minimum annual withdrawal amount be based on your spouse’s age if he or she is younger. The annual minimum amount will therefore be lower.
- If you have to make an annual minimum withdrawal from your RRIF but don’t need the money to live on, you can invest it in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) on which all investment income is tax-free.
Two tax-saving strategies
Strategy no. 1: Claim the Pension Income Tax Credit
Converting a portion or all of your RRSP, locked-in RRSP or LIRA in order to claim the pension income tax credit, if you are not getting it already, may be to your benefit in certain circumstances.
Consider this strategy, especially if your personal income tax level is below the amounts listed below*.
Federal tax: As of age 65, you can get a tax credit on the first $2,000 withdrawn annually from an RIFF or LIF regardless of your income.
In Ontario*: As of age 65, you can get a tax credit of the first $1,228 withdrawn annually from an RRIF or LIF regardless of your income.
Strategy no. 2: Ensure the contributing spouse pays no taxes when a spousal RRSP is converted to an RRIF.
If, during the current or 2 preceding years, your partner made a spousal contribution to your RRSP before it was converted into an RRIF, he or she will be taxed on any portion of the income drawn from the RRIF exceeding the annual minimum. To avoid this, withdraw only the annual minimum for at least the first 3 years. As soon as 3 years pass with no contributions to the spousal RRSP, only the annuitant is taxed on RRIF withdrawals, regardless of the amount.
Other strategies may be able to help you reduce the amount of tax due on payouts. Speak to your Caisse populaire advisor.